We overcome linguistic and cultural barriers.

Degree programme specification

The Czech Sign Language Interpreting Studies study programme is principally aimed at preparation of qualified experts providing interpreting and translation services for the citizens of the Czech Republic with hearing impairment who are entitled to such services under the current legislation (Act No. 155/1998 Coll., on communication systems of deaf and deafblind persons, as amended by Act No. 384/2008 Coll.). It is chiefly an interdisciplinary study programme combining theoretical linguistics and social services: Czech Sign Language is studied in the context of a linguistic description of other natural languages, and it is used practically in services for deaf and hard of hearing persons.

The focus of the studies comprises three mutually interconnected areas: i) theoretical knowledge of general linguistics; ii) proficiency in Czech Sign Language; iii) specific professional expertise and interpreting skills.

Strong emphasis is placed on mastering Czech Sign Language, especially in the first part of the studies, as high level of proficiency is the basis for being able to work independently as a Czech Sign Language interpreter and translator. The involvement of native signers with pedagogical experience in the position of lecturers ensures that students will be in contact with the native form of Czech Sign Language. In addition, the theoretical linguistic apparatus allows them to understand the language as a system with well-defined rules. Despite its different physical implementation, it does not differ greatly in its abstract form from other natural languages. Such reflections make the learning process in practice faster and deeper. Expertise unrelated to language competence is acquired particularly in the field of social work (as interpreting is considered by law to be a social service in a number of cases), relevant Czech legislation and the Deaf community (e.g. cultural and historical context, differentiation of service recipients, etc.).

All the above-mentioned layers of the study programme are interwoven in practical interpreting courses, combining theoretical and practical training. A placement in organizations providing interpreting services is an integral part of the studies.

Study plans

Studies

  • Objectives

    The Czech Sign Language Interpreting Studies study programme is principally aimed at preparation of qualified experts providing interpreting and translation services for the citizens of the Czech Republic with hearing impairment who are entitled to such services under the current legislation (Act No. 155/1998 Coll., on communication systems of deaf and deafblind persons, as amended by Act No. 384/2008 Coll.). It is chiefly an interdisciplinary study programme combining theoretical linguistics and social services: Czech Sign Language is studied in the context of linguistic description of other natural languages, and it is used practically in services for deaf and hard of hearing persons.

    The focus of the studies comprises three mutually interconnected areas: i) theoretical knowledge of general linguistics; ii) proficiency in Czech Sign Language; iii) specific professional expertise and interpreting skills.

    Strong emphasis is placed on mastering Czech Sign Language, especially in the first part of the studies, as high level of proficiency is the basis for being able to work independently as a Czech Sign Language interpreter and translator. The involvement of native signers with pedagogical experience in the position of lecturers ensures that students will be in contact with the native form of Czech Sign Language. In addition, the theoretical linguistic apparatus allows them to understand the language as a system with well-defined rules. Despite its different physical implementation, it does not differ greatly in its abstract form from other natural languages. Such reflections make the learning process in practice faster and deeper. Expertise unrelated to language competence is acquired particularly in the field of social work (as interpreting is considered by law to be a social service in a number of cases), relevant Czech legislation and the Deaf community (e.g. cultural and historical context, differentiation of service recipients, etc.).

    All the above-mentioned layers of the study programme are interwoven in practical interpreting courses, combining theoretical and practical training. A placement in organizations providing interpreting services is an integral part of the studies.

    This programme is suitable for applicants who wish to work as Czech Sign Language interpreters as well as for those interested in social work and natural languages. By combining study programmes as well as by selecting optional courses to some extent, the students may narrow down their specialization. The combination with General Linguistics or any other philologically-oriented programme at Masaryk University creates a wide range of opportunities to study a natural language as a tool for discovering the world. It is also very advantageous to combine it with programmes focused on computational linguistics and natural language processing such as Czech Language with Orientation on Computational Linguistics at the Department of Czech Language at the Faculty of Arts or the study programmes offered at the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University. Combined with study programmes at the Faculty of Education or the Faculty of Social Science at Masaryk University, the graduate may specialize in special education or social work.

  • Learning Outcomes

    After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

    • The graduate understands natural languages as systems of rules, can analyze complex language structures and is able to explain and compare constituent grammatical structures in Czech and Czech Sign Language.
    • The graduate is proficient in linguistic terminology and standard theoretical approaches applicable in the field of modern linguistics.
    • The graduate has a B2 level of Czech Sign Language according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, can communicate fluently with native speakers and use the SignWriting notation system.
    • The graduate analyses natural speech in Czech Sign Language in terms of linguistic perspective (individual language plans: phonology, morphology, syntax),
    • The graduate analyses natural speech in Czech Sign Language in terms of language standard (deviation from standard speech norms) as well as the sociocultural point.
    • The graduate is well acquainted with the cultural and historical context of the deaf community in the Czech Republic and also partly in the world. He understands the specifics of this minority.
    • The graduate has knowledge of appropriate legislation in the field of social services, is well-informed about the system of interpreting services in the Czech Republic.
    • The graduate has proper skills to translate between CSL and Czech, understands both languages, and his command is at least at the B2 level; he is able to express himself correctly in terms of grammar and situation in the target language.
    • The graduate is aware that the interpreting profession is based on ethical principles. The students are familiar with the quality standards of providing interpreting and translation services as well as with the Code of Ethics for CSL interpreters.
    • The graduates recognize the values of the profession and are able to make informed choices regarding ethical issues and dilemmas that arise during their professional performance.
    • The graduate will have acquired experience with video editing software and editing practice while working on a multilingual online dictionary.
    • The graduates will undergo an intensive cognitive and motor training: they will master a number of memory techniques and strategies to carry out several parallel activities.
    • The graduate can perform confidently and representatively in public and in front of the audience. His language skills are at a high level.
    • The graduates have effective teamwork skills and can communicate with a heterogeneous group of clients. They are also efficient time managers, can use adequate preparation strategies, and work independently.
  • Occupational Profiles of Graduates

    The Czech Sign Language Interpretation Studies study programme is primarily aimed at preparing graduates to work as interpreters within the distribution system of interpreting and translation services for the Czech Republic citizens with hearing impairment, i.e. to work in organizations which provide interpreting services for this group of recipients. However, the programme also creates an appropriate framework for any position requiring a representative profile, good level of expressiveness and communication skills in mother tongue or foreign languages. Having mastered the theoretical linguistic approaches as part of the studies, the graduate is ready to perform not only tasks that assume understanding the structure of mother tongue and foreign languages but also any other positions requiring analytical thinking.

    There are some examples of working areas (I-V) and different positions (1-6) suitable for the study programme’s graduates:

    I) Interpreting in the field of social work

    1. The graduate can work as an interpreter for citizens with hearing impairment when exercising their rights, pursuing legitimate interests and dealing with personal affairs, for example in the area of health and social issues (such as discussions with the Labour Office, Czech Social Security Administration, Department of Social Affairs and Health, register and other offices), in justice and communication with the Police of the Czech Republic, on the occasion of weddings, births of a child, care provision for older people, inheritance proceedings, funerals, negotiations with insurance companies, banks, lawyers, craftsmen, etc.

    II) Interpreting in the field of education

    2. The graduate can work as a teaching assistant in mainstream and special schools ensuring integration/inclusion.

    III) Interpreting in other areas

    3. The graduate can work as an interpreter in the working environment (internal and external corporate communication, specialist seminars) and cultural and social events such as conferences, balls or theatre performances.

    IV) Translation

    4. To work as a translator between Czech (or other spoken languages) and Czech Sign Language (written communication with authorities and institutions, translating laws, websites, etc.)

    5. To work as a manager in translation agencies.

    V) Linguistics

    6. The graduate can work as an editor, proofreader, lexicographer or language data annotator.

  • Practical Training

    The compulsory practical training comprises 480 hours and can be divided as following: 430 hours of interpretation in organizations providing interpreting services and 50 hours in community organizations of the Deaf.

    The first type of training mentioned above is the content of the courses Practical Training and Supervision in Social Work I and II (worth six and eight credits respectively; included in the study plan for the fifth and sixth semester). The second type forms part of the courses Language practice II, IV and VI (worth four credits each; included in the study plan for the second, fourth and sixth semester).

    Regarding the practical training in organizations providing interpreting services (430 hours), students are expected to visit a certain number of such institutions before the practical training itself, i.e. in the period from the first to the fourth semester. These excursions are part of the courses related to interpreting skills – Czech-Czech Sign Language Interpreting I-IV, Self-management and Non-profit Sector and Practicalities of Becoming an Interpreter. During these excursions the students will acquire basic insight into the facilities they will later choose to do their practical training in.

    The aim of the practical training is to: i) make students familiar with different types of institutions and thus shorten the adaptation period after starting their job and create conditions for rapid professional growth; ii) foster direct involvement of students in real-life interpreting situations.

    The course Practical Training and Supervision in Social Work I comprises at least 50 hours of observation and 100 hours of direct interpreting.

    The course Practical Training and Supervision in Social Work II comprises 200 hours of direct interpreting

    The practical training may be completed any time during the studies; however, the recommended study plan assumes no previous knowledge of Czech Sign Language and the sufficient level of the language can only be reached in the third year of study. Those students who already work as interpreters may have the required number of interpreting hours recognized as the compulsory practical training or part of it.

    The aim of the practical training in community organizations of the Deaf (50 hours) is to introduce the students into the Deaf community. Students will help by organizing cultural and sport evets in the community. We expect them able to comply with such tasks from the second semester already. In order to successfully finish the courses Practical CSL II, IV and VI, the students need to complete this type of the practical training (17 , 17 and 16 hours respectively).

  • Goals of Theses

    The goal of a thesis is to compile the relevant expert literature with respect to the topic; collect and classify linguistic data, apply the theory from the literature on the data and form a conclusion.

    The author should show that he is able to work with the expert literature, he can see the relation between data and theory, he can formulate his opinions and arguments in the form of a text that complies with given formal criteria.

    Formal criteria on the text:

    The minimal length is circa 50 000 characters. It is obvious that the ethical principles of scientific work are maintained (citation conventions).

    However, it is not acceptable to compile the most part of the work using the paraphrasis of the literature.

    The citations must be marked by the quotation marks and accompanied by the bibliographic source. It is also required to write the list of the used literature; using one of the standard formats. Within the whole thesis, it is necessary to use a unified system of referencing the literature. The sources that were not used by the author directly, are not registered in the list of literature. The language of the thesis is Czech.

  • Access to Further Studies

    The graduates of the Czech Sign Language Interpreting Studies study programme can continue to study any Master’s degree programme. The accreditation of the Czech Sign Language Interpreting Studies Master’s programme should take place in the future; however, it is not currently accredited. Depending on the student’s specialization, it seems best to choose the following Master’s programmes:

    a) philologically oriented programmes at the Faculty of Arts: e.g. the General Linguistics programme or a specific philology programme provided the graduate commands the given language at the required level;

    b) pedagogically and socially oriented programmes at the Faculty of Education: e.g. Special Education programme focused on speech and language therapy and teaching persons with hearing impairment; Special Education focused on teaching persons with hearing impairment and sign language (a study programme primarily intended for students with hearing impairment); Special Education - Communication Techniques; Specialization in Education (teaching specific courses); Social and Free Time Education at the Faculty of Social Studies – Social Work.

  • Additional Information

Basic information

Type
Bachelor's degree programme
Profile
career-oriented
Degree
Bc.
Length of studies
3 years
Language of instruction
Czech Czech

20
estimated number of admitted
18
number of active students

Faculty of Arts
Programme guaranteed by
In cooperation with
Programme guarantor